By STEVE STRICKLAND
Gary McConnell will be the featured speaker at the regular fall meeting of the Chattooga County Historical Society at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct.13 at Camp Hamby located at 5025 Hair Lake Road, Summerville.
Rain or shine, a fall picnic is planned in the spacious pavilion nestled in the woods directly behind the historic Macedonia Chapel, originally the Macedonia Methodist Church. Board members will be on site to set up by 1 p.m. so feel free to come early. The Historical Society will provide drinks, plates, utensils and plenty of fried chicken.
If you wish, bring a covered dish – perhaps vegetables or desserts, something that might have been shared at dinner-on-the-grounds a century or more ago. While some chairs are available, everyone is encouraged to bring a comfortable lawn chair.
CAMP HAMBY HAS
Camp Hamby was created in 1968 through the generosity of the late Hugh Hamby of Menlo United Methodist who deeded 9.4 acres to be used as a Christian camp for young people. In 1983, the camp’s acreage was increased to over 15. Since that time, the camp has been enjoyed by many thousands of children and adults from near and far.
The Macedonia Chapel that sits at the gate to Camp Hamby is the original home of the Macedonia Methodist Church. The church began before the October 1840 deed where Humphrey Tomlinson deeded land to the original church trustees – among them a McConnell ancestor of this meeting’s featured speaker.
The church was moved from Highway 337 to the Camp Hamby location in the early 1990s. There it is used often for camp assemblies, weddings and funerals. Across the road from the gate is the beautifully maintained Garrett Cemetery, one of the oldest burial grounds in the county.
FORMER SHERIFF &
Gary McConnell served the citizens of Chattooga County as a sheriff and was later Director of Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency (GEMA). McConnell and his wife, Diane, lifelong residents of Northwest Georgia, continue to reside and work in the county they love.
McConnell will discuss his book, “It’s All About the People,” published in 2019. The book recounts not only his work as a deputy under his father, Sheriff John Frank McConnell, but his own career as Sheriff and as GEMA Director under Governors Zell Miller, Roy Barnes and Sonny Perdue. During that time, he led security operations during the Atlanta Olympic Games and thus had to deal with the bombing in Centennial Olympic Park.
The Historical Society’s keepsake Christmas ornaments will also be available for purchase at this meeting. The 2018 ornament featured the Summerville Depot while 2019 depicts the Chattooga County Courthouse. Supplies of the 2018 version were sold out and we now have a new supply. Both ornaments will be available while supplies last.
This will be a memorable program. All meetings of the Chattooga County Historical Society are free and open to the public. Membership is comprised of almost 300 families, both from inside and outside the county. Family memberships in the organization are $20 per year and include a quarterly publication. Contact the Society at P.O. Box 626, Summerville or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.